> Skip to content
  • Published: 31 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781446414101
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336


An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-maker and Apprentice to a Butcher in Tuscany

'Heat is by far the funniest, most passionately felt and intensely flavoured piece of writing about food, its possibilities and its culture, you are likely to read' - Tim Adams, Observer

Bill Buford, an enthusiastic, if rather chaotic, home cook, was asked by the New Yorker to write a profile of Mario Batali, a Falstaffian figure of voracious appetites who runs one of New York's most successful three-star restaurants. Buford accepted the commission, on the condition Batali allow him to work in his kitchen, as his slave.

He worked his way up to 'line cook' and then left New York to learn from the very teachers who had taught his teacher: preparing game with Marco Pierre White, making pasta in a hillside trattoria, finally becoming apprentice to a Dante-spouting butcher in Chianti.

Heat is a marvellous hybrid: a memoir of Buford's kitchen adventures, the story of Batali's amazing rise to culinary fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters. It is a book to delight in, and to savour.

  • Published: 31 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781446414101
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Bill Buford

Bill Buford has been a writer and editor for the New Yorker since 1995. Before that he was the editor of Granta magazine for sixteen years and, in 1989, became the publisher of Granta Books. He is also the author of Heat and Among the Thugs. He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, grew up in California, and was educated at UC Berkeley and Kings College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship for his work on Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jessica Green, and their two sons.

Also by Bill Buford

See all

Praise for Heat

It's a brilliant book, a high-brow kitchen soap opera

Daily Telegraph

I lingered over every sentence like a heavily truffled risotto

Anthony Bourdain

I have never read a funnier or more authentic account of the making of a serious cook. Give Mr Buford three stars

Peter Mayle

A dazzling and fun account of two magnificently mad years


With an endlessly inquisitive mind writes with great humour ... I suspect it might become a kitchen classic. It deserves to

Ray Connelly, Daily Mail

Obsessive, compulsive, sometimes funny, sometimes scholarly and always carefully detailed... he presents the foul-mouthed energy of the kitchen, all fear and weirdness, in the flat, careful detail of a good New Yorker piece - but brilliantly timed and structured as you'd expect from an editor like Buford, to give life to all that fact


Heat is a book about obsession, written by a man in the grip of one. It is fuelled by food, but food is not its only subject - love, sex, comradeship and terror and pain are all part of the story too

Carolyn Hart, Sunday Telegraph

Now and again a book comes along that deserves the massive hype that goes with it...this book is an incredible celebration of life, humour, passion and devotion to a cause

Sunday Express

There are many fine books on food, but Buford's insane culinary enthusiasm has resulted in a work that is by some distance the best about life among the professionals

Christopher Hirst, Independent

This book will make you hungry - hungry for a follow-up, hungry for good writing in general and, of course, hungry for lunch


Buford is an engaging and accomplished writer with a sharp eye for the telling detail, and his prose fairly crackles on the page...There's enough luscious description to keep avid foodies drooling and enough beady-eyed observation to deter all but the keenest wannabe chefs

George Rosie, Sunday Herald

Related titles